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Soul in the Sun pulls top R&B acts

Published:Saturday | September 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Paul Pennicook, director of tourism - File
Regina Belle - Contributed

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

"I fully endorse this event because it is guaranteed to be a wonderful weekend of soul under the sun." Those were the words of Paul Pennicook, director of tourism, as he spoke of what to anticipate at the inaugural staging of Soul in the Sun, during the launch of the event on Wednesday night.

Held at The Deck on Trafalgar Road in Kingston, the launch gave guests a taste of what to expect come October 10-12. Romance filled the air as deejay Yohann Stephens played hit after hit from some of the biggest names in soul (many of whom will be part of the festival's line-up). The audience enjoyed every minute of his set, singing along to every word.

When the singalong ended, the audience was so enthused that Pennicook didn't have to beg for their attention when he began his address. In his brief statement, the director of tourism said the timing of the event couldn't be more perfect. Highlighting the benefits of the music festival, Pennicook said the event is expected to attract a large number of tourists to the island's shores at a time when visits were usually fewer, a sentiment the event's executive director, Junior Taylor, agreed with.

With an impressive line-up which boasts the likes of Peabo Bryson, Johnny Gill, Regina Belle, Keith Sweat and more, Taylor is convinced that an event like Soul in the Sun will be a win-win for all involved. "The economic benefits this event could have are countless. Not only will it attract visitors to the island in the month of October, when there is a valley in the statistics, but it will do good for the city of Montego Bay," he said.

While guaranteeing a night rich in entertainment, Taylor also used the time to address the issue of the chikungunya virus currently sweeping the island. He made it clear that the venue was currently being cleaned in an effort to rid it of any mosquito breeding sites. He pointed out that frequent fogging leading up to the event would also ensure that guests have a wonderful experience without worrying about the chik-V problem.

On Friday, October 10, patrons will enjoy performances from Johnny Gill, Keith Sweat, Dru Hill, Silk and local act L.U.S.T, while Saturday, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, Jeffrey Osbourne, Freddie Jackson, Howard Hewitt and local entertainer Richie Stephens will take centre stage. Tickets for the event are available for purchase online at the Soul in the Sun official website, as well as retail outlets islandwide. Sponsors, Knutsford Express, will provide shuttle service from Kingston and Ocho Rios, round trips and one-way.